Three male students who are the targets of sexual assault investigations at N.C. State University could be cleared of any criminal wrongdoing and still face sanctions from the university, including expulsion.
Mick Kulikowski, a N.C. State spokesman, confirmed Tuesday that suspected students could face sanctions imposed by the university if criminal charges are not filed against them. He pointed to the university’s student code of conduct manual, which includes a section prohibiting sexual misconduct including sexual harassment, sexual exploitation and sexual contact without consent.
Those sanctions include a written warning, disciplinary probation, suspension, removal from university housing and expulsion, according to the student code of conduct.
While a team of campus detectives continue to probe three reports of sexual assault that were reported last month by three female students who attended a campus party, N.C. State Chancellor Randy Woodson said Monday that there is a separate ongoing Title IX investigation to determine whether the cases constitute discrimination or harassment.
Title IX is a comprehensive federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex for federally funded programs and activities. Allegations of sexual assault are covered under Title IX.
NCSU police have not made public the details of the assault, nor have they released the names or identities of anyone involved in the investigation.
Woodson, in an email to The News & Observer, stated that under federal and state law, as well as the university’s equal opportunity and non-discriminatory policy, the school is required to conduct a fair, thorough and independent investigation when made aware of circumstances that could constitute discrimination or harassment based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, gender identity, genetic information, sexual orientation, veteran status or disability status.
“I want to assure the campus community that NC State has dedicated all available resources toward completing thorough and accurate police and Title IX investigations,” Woodson wrote in the email. “University Police continue working tirelessly on a comprehensive criminal investigation they began immediately upon knowledge of the accusations, and the university is pursuing a separate Title IX process investigation to determine if evidence from the case could warrant student conduct code charges. Both investigations are being conducted as thoroughly and promptly as possible while ensuring due process and appropriate support are provided for those involved.”
The alleged assaults happened between 9:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. July 21 at Timber Hall, a student apartment building at Wolf Village, near Western Boulevard.
“There were three separate sexual assaults reported at one location,” said NCSU Police Chief Jack Moorman, who described the alleged assaults as “a series of events over a period of time.”
The alleged victims knew the men who they said assaulted them.
“It was not a stranger assault,” Moorman said.
The campus police department made public incident reports that indicated two of the students told police they had been raped, while the third student told police she was the victim of sexual battery.
Moorman assigned a team of four detectives to the case. They are working in concert with a special victims unit from the Wake County District Attorney’s Office.
One of the cases is being investigated as second-degree forcible rape after the alleged victim told police a suspect had sexual intercourse with her after she was given alcoholic beverages and an unnamed drug, according to one incident report.
A second case is being investigated as second-degree rape. Alcohol was determined to not be a factor in that case nor in the sexual battery case, according to the incident reports.
A person convicted of second-degree forcible rape can spend between four and 14 years in prison, according to North Carolina’s general statutes. Someone found guilty of sexual battery can spend up to 150 days in jail, according to the general statutes.
Evidence gathered by campus officials from the Title IX investigation will be submitted to the N.C. State Office of Student Conduct, which will determine any relevant charges under the code of student conduct.
Kulikowski, the NCSU spokesman, said all reports of sexual assault on campus launch Title IX investigations.
“The university investigates all Title IX cases,” he said Tuesday afternoon. “However, the extent of the investigation may be limited by the complainant’s request for confidentiality or willingness to cooperate.”